Photo courtesy of Sower Staff
By Whitney Borchardt
How often have you asked someone how they are doing, and their response is, “I’m so stressed,” or “I’m so busy?” These two common phrases need to take a step back: Stress in not an emotion and it should not be the defining aspect of yourself.
If you find yourself constantly stressed, it may be time to reevaluate. The truth is, everyone is stressed and busy. This is college and being busy is part of the gig. You take a full course load, add an extracurricular, a job and an addiction to coffee, and you have most of the people on campus.
One article title puts it bluntly: “Stop telling us how busy you are, it’s boring and charmless.” I find myself tuning out whenever someone says, “I’m busy,” because it’s the oldest excuse, and not a very good one at that. The article goes on to say that you are missing a chance to be interesting. When I ask you how you are, tell me about what’s going on in your life, because I genuinely want to know. Tell me about your classes or your job or something weird your professor said during class.
If you truly are overwhelmingly busy and don’t know what to do, there are some steps to take to manage your busy life. First, planners should be your best friend. Writing down events and assignments can be hugely beneficial, because if you’re like me, you will forget about them. There are countless calendar apps to organize your schedule. You can also talk to that one friend that is crazy organized.
After you’ve organized your schedule, you may get asked to go out and do things. So, you continuously say yes, and you fall behind, which makes you stressed. This process continues because you don’t know how to say no. By saying yes to everything, nothing is a priority. You begin to put the important things on the backburner and focus on the things that will make you happy this very second.
The Mayo Clinic lists different ways on how to say no, which in turn will help with stress management. They recognize why you need to say no in certain situations and offer considerations for saying no: it’s not selfish, it allows you to try new things, always saying yes isn’t healthy and always saying yes can cut others out. There are different things you should ask yourself before committing to something. Are you focusing on what matters most? Are you being guilted into going? How big of a commitment is the activity? Have I thought it completely through? Once you’ve gone through those questions, decide if you need to say no. You don’t have to be rude about saying no. It’s important to still be respectful and truthful when giving a reason why you can’t do something. Don’t do the classic Midwest passive-aggressiveness.
There are also multiple ways to help cope with stress. Number one, take care of yourself. Eat healthy and don’t skip meals. Exercise on a regular basis. I know it might be tough to sneak in a workout but running to class can get your heart rate up, as can doing some pushups in your dorm. Talk to your support system. You don’t need to tell everyone what’s going on in your life while you are waiting in line at 10:31, but you can talk to close friends and family. It can help to simply talk about what’s going on and how you could help manage it. There are also some amazing resources on our campus: counseling, peer ministry, the health center and the campus pastor. They are here for you if you need to talk to someone. It’s also okay to take a break. Take some time throughout the week to focus on something you enjoy, that isn’t adding to the stress.
Yes, you may be stressed and busy, but it’s time to recognize how to deal with it before complaining to all of campus.